Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Norman’s Novel

Tuesdays with Morzant

MORZANT: Zulko, humans. Today I’m going to interview Bigfoot. I’ve been looking forward to this since I began my tenure as the official interviewer for BIGFOOT READS. Although I’ve known Bigfoot as long as I’ve known Penny, there are many details of his existence that remain a mystery to me. For years I’ve asked him to reveal his birthplace and shoe size, to no avail. I feel confident that today I will succeed in coaxing those secrets from him, and maybe a few others as well. Did you hear a knock? That must be him.

NORMAN: Hey, Morzant. What’s up?

MORZANT: The ceiling fan and tiles, my ship’s transparent silicone dome above that, then an abundance of cumulous clouds resembling a herd of giraffes playing miniature golf—unless they’ve shifted significantly since last I looked—and, beyond that, the Earth’s troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and finally the exosphere. Although fascinating, none of that is relevant to the question at hand which is, what can I do for you? I hate to rush you, but I’m expecting Bigfoot.

NORMAN: About that. Bigfoot isn’t coming today. I just ran into him and told him you’d interview him another time. I hope that’s okay.

MORZANT: Why on Zeenton’s plateaus would you do such a thing?

NORMAN: I needed to talk to you about—what is that? It smells like a bakery in here.

MORZANT: I made donuts for Bigfoot.

NORMAN: Yummy. Can I have one?

MORZANT: Certainly. But Norman, I wish you had consulted me before sending Bigfoot away. I was up all night preparing questions. And making these donuts.

NORMAN: I didn’t know you could bake.

MORZANT: Technically these donuts were fried, not baked. But, yes, I am adept in the science of food preparation. All that’s required is a rudimentary understanding of the basic principles of chemistry. That particular donut was made from a popular Zeentonian recipe with substitute ingredients for the marptorf and cinnapetum I ran out of several weeks ago. I’ve not had time to return to Zeenton to replenish my spices. I believe the result is still satisfactory. Do you agree?

NORMAN: I think so. Can I have another? Just to be sure.

MORZANT: Yes. Now, please, tell me what was so important that you took it upon yourself to postpone my interview with Bigfoot?

NORMAN: I almost forgot. See, I'm writing a novel and—

MORZANT: You’re writing a novel? How exciting! What’s it about?

NORMAN: Uh, yeah. I’m not sure about the plot yet. It’s sort of changing as I go. But the main character has a lot in common with you. I wondered if maybe, if I get stuck on what the character might do or say, I could come talk to you. It’d be like research.

MORZANT: As an advocate of research in every pursuit, I’d be delighted to help. Perhaps you’d return the favor. Would you permit me to observe you as you write your novel? What a boost it would give to my studies of Earth literature to actually witness the process of its creation!

NORMAN: Sure. I guess.

MORZANT: Marvelous! Are you planning to write now? I see you have your laptop with you. Why don’t you make yourself comfortable over here? How’s that? Do you need more light? Would you like a chair with more lumbar support? Background music? You go ahead and write as you normally would. Don’t mind me. I’ll be nearby taking notes.

NORMAN: Is it that important I write exactly like I always do?

MORZANT: Oh, yes, absolutely. Critically so. Any variation in your modus operandi could lead me to incorrect conclusions regarding the nature of writing fiction.

NORMAN: In that case, I’ll need a snack. I usually snack while I write.

MORZANT: Will these homemade donuts be adequate?

NORMAN: For a start. How about something to wash them down with? Got milk?

MORZANT: Will soy milk suffice? It’s all I have. I’m lactose intolerant.

NORMAN: Nevermind. I don’t always drink milk while I write. But I always have hot chocolate. With little marshmallows.

MORZANT: Very well. I’ll prepare your hot cocoa beverage.

NORMAN: With little marshmallows.

MORZANT: Of course. With little marshmallows. In the meantime, you can begin writing.

Experiment 278.54: Observation of an Earth Novel Writer

Subject: Norman the Half-Invisible Turtle

Date: November 2, 2010

Subject boots laptop, begins to type 13:53:24.

Subject presented with hot cocoa beverage with little marshmallows.

Approximate typing rate: 10 words per minute

Approximate snacking rate: a bite every 5 words

Subject scratches nose.

Subject resumes typing.

Subject asks how to spell “amphibious.”

Subject takes bathroom break.

Subject resumes typing.

Subject hums “Froggy Went A-Courtin’.”

(For later study: Does the sound of humming alter the creative thought process?)

Subject begins to mutter to himself.

Subject requests synonym for the word “delusional.”

Subject produces tapping sound. Impossible to ascertain source of sound due to Subject’s state of half-invisibility, but suspect Subject is tapping foot against leg of table.

Subject ceases typing, 14:27:46.

NORMAN: That’s it for today.

MORZANT: Would you allow me to read what you’ve written?

NORMAN: I don’t know. I mean, it’s just a few rough paragraphs.

MORZANT: For my studies, it’s imperative that I see your early work so I can contrast it with the final product. For example, I’ll want to know if the noun-to-adjective ratio changes significantly or if there is more or less exposition in the later drafts. Please, Norman. I won’t be critical. I don’t yet grasp the intricacies of literary craft.

NORMAN: When you put it that way, I suppose it’s okay.

MORZANT: I’m eager to meet this dashing character that resembles me. Is he a scientist?

NORMAN: No, he’s—.

MORZANT: Wait. Don’t tell me. I want to read for myself.

Zantmor did not like being a tadpole. The gradual disappearance of his tail alarmed him. The constant worry about the appendages that would one day appear filled him with dread and self-loathing. And worst of all was the chronic swimmer’s ear.

Yes, he said to himself daily. There’s nothing worse than being a tadpole.

And he believed that to be true, until he became a frog.

NORMAN: What’s the matter? Why did you stop reading? Don’t forget, you promised not to be critical.

MORZANT: Of course. It’s just that—

NORMAN: Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe I’d better just write my novel in private.

MORZANT: No! It’s good. I like it. Let me finish.

Zantmor hated being a frog more than he had hated being a tadpole. He wasn’t much of a hopper and he didn’t care for the taste of flies or worms. His days were spent dodging little human boys and their nets. At night he was obliged to croak for no apparent reason.

Being a frog is not for me, he said to himself daily.

So one day Zantmor decided he wouldn’t be a frog. He decided to be an alien from the planet Tonzeen.

NORMAN: Well, what do you think so far?

MORZANT: I look forward to observing the revision process.

Good-bye for now, humans. I apologize for the postponement of Bigfoot’s interview. I hope to interview Bigfoot soon and to find out if he prefers glazed or cake donuts, powder or candy sprinkles.

Also, please return for further observations of Norman’s novel-writing endeavor.

No comments: